Corporate Governance and Accounting Scandals
This paper empirically examines whether certain corporate governance mechanisms are related to the probability of a company restating its earnings. We examine a sample of 159 U.S. public companies that restated earnings and an industry-size matched sample of control firms. We have assembled a novel, hand-collected data set that measures the corporate governance characteristics of these 318 firms. We find that several key governance characteristics are unrelated to the probability of a company restating earnings. These include the independence of boards and audit committees and the provision of nonaudit services by outside auditors. We find that the probability of restatement is lower in companies whose boards or audit committees have an independent director with financial expertise; it is higher in companies in which the chief executive officer belongs to the founding family. These relations are statistically significant, large in magnitude, and robust to alternative specifications. Our findings are consistent with the idea that independent directors with financial expertise are valuable in providing oversight of a firm's financial reporting practices.
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